Medindia

X

Stress-Induced Anxiety: How It Occurs

by Dr. Enozia Vakil on  February 2, 2014 at 9:03 AM Research News   - G J E 4
A neural circuit that connects the lateral septum to the other brain structures in a manner that directly influences anxiety has now been discovered by a team of researchers.
 Stress-Induced Anxiety: How It Occurs
Stress-Induced Anxiety: How It Occurs
Advertisement

David Anderson, the Seymour Benzer Professor of Biology at California Institute of Technology (Caltech), and corresponding author of the study and his team used optogenetics-a technique that uses light to control neural activity-to artificially activate a set of specific, genetically identified neurons in the LS of mice. During this activation, the mice became more anxious.

Advertisement
Moreover, the researchers found that even a brief, transient activation of those neurons could produce a state of anxiety lasting for at least half an hour.

Anderson said that the counterintuitive feature of these neurons is that even though activating them causes more anxiety, the neurons are actually inhibitory neurons, meaning that they would expect them to shut off other neurons in the brain.

The team took a closer look at exactly where the LS neurons were making connections in the brain, they saw that they were inhibiting other neurons in a nearby area called the hypothalamus.

Importantly, most of those hypothalamic neurons were, themselves, inhibitory neurons. Moreover, those hypothalamic inhibitory neurons, in turn, connected with a third brain structure called the paraventricular nucleus, or PVN. The PVN is well known to control the release of hormones like cortisol in response to stress and has been implicated in anxiety.

This anatomical circuit seemed to provide a potential double-inhibitory pathway through which activation of the inhibitory LS neurons could lead to an increase in stress and anxiety.

The findings have been published in the journal Cell.

Source: ANI
Advertisement

Post your Comments

Comments should be on the topic and should not be abusive. The editorial team reserves the right to review and moderate the comments posted on the site.
User Avatar
* Your comment can be maximum of 2500 characters
Notify me when reply is posted I agree to the terms and conditions

You May Also Like

Advertisement
View All